By on November 11, 2009

We're number ee!

The Guardian reports that in the first 9 months of 2009, Volkswagen/Porsche made 4.4 million cars whereas Toyota made 4 million. Naturally, the majority of VW’s growth has come from the area which is growing even faster than VW, China. But the lads from the Middle Kingdom weren’t the only modes of growth for Volkswagen. The Wolfsburg warriors were also beneficiaries of European stimulus packages (A.K.A: Cash for Clunkers) where Volkswagen have large market share (Germany, UK, etc). Charity really does begin at home!

However, IHS Global Insight, the company who compiled this data, also gave credit to the other entity who helped Volkswagen’s ascent, namely, Toyota. Because of Toyota’s decision to almost halve global output in the first quarter of 2009 (for all the right reasons) from 2 million to 1.1 million, this put Toyota behind Volkswagen by quite a margin. Christoph Stürmer, a director at IHS Global Insight, said Toyota had “braked extremely hard” at the beginning of 2009. I suppose that makes a change from continuous acceleration.
Even though we still have another quarter to go, Volkswagen seem certain to stay ahead of Toyota and claim the title of “World’s largest carmaker by volume” for 2009. And you know what? This could be a happy ending for everyone. Toyota finally go under the radar & get rid of a title they never wanted and Ferdinand Piech finally achieves his dreams of world domination. As long as all those cars get sold, anyway.

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10 Comments on “Volkswagen (Production) Über Alles...”


  • avatar
    John Horner

    Toyota has been making a lot of mistakes lately, including overreacting when they cut production by almost half.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Making more cars is not necessarily a good thing, especially when, as you say, they might not sell all of them.
     
    I’ve said this a few times about VW: their recent “success” in terms of market share and loss-mitigation have everything to do with their not having a presence in traditionally strong markets that have had a weak couple of years.   I really don’t think years of lost revenue, both behind and in front of them, makes up for a year or two of back-slapping.  I’ll re-use the metaphor: just because your other opponents fell into a sinkhole that opened up in their lanes does not make you the best runner; it makes you lucky.
     
    VW still has no presence in North America (we’ll ignore Japan, which Toyota owns); Toyota’s Prius outsells everything they make here.  When North America recovers, VW will still be trailing the likes of Mazda and Kia, where Toyota has been showing slow-but-steady growth in China and Europe.

    • 0 avatar
      Fusion

      Actually, Toyotas Marketshare has been declining since 2005, from 5.4 to 4.7 percent (including Lexus) in Western Europe. Enlarged Europe is about the same, so they havent been making progress, and they’re marketshare isn’t that much bigger than that of VW Group in the US…
      Concerning those production numbers, I have read that they aren’t counting all of GM China’s Sales? I don’t know how correct that is, or what the correct way to account chinese sales even is (after all, GM owns even less of their JVs than VW does, about 34% iirc). Doesnt really matter either… ;)

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    Actually, psarjhinian, SUZUKI “owns” top spot for sales in Japan.  They are the top seller of kei cars, which is the top category of vehicles sales there. 

    Perhaps Volkswagen would do well to actually make a few changes to their cars if they wish to succeed in countries with people who have some experience with reliable cars over the past 30 years (I’m speaking of the USA and Canada, here). 

    Automatic transmissions grenading, instrument panels going up in flames (Audi, I’m looking at you….), more Gremlins than AMC ever produced (mostly in VW electricals which rivals British Lucas for “epic failure”), and general unreliability combined with too much technical complexity “just because we’re German and ve vant it zis way und ve know RIGHT”. 

    Get into Consumer Reports top reliability spot for about a decade, and I’ll consider a VW.

  • avatar
    zbnutcase

    The quality of VWs North American has been in the toilet for 10yrs now. They may never recover, I want my air-cooled Beetle back!

  • avatar
    mpresley

    Typical TTAC best and brightest response: I know someone who knows someone that once had a co-worker with an aunt who used to have to take her VW to the dealer at least once every five or six weeks for no less than a thousand dollars worth of unscheduled repairs, each visit.  When she would arrive at the dealership, both salesmen and service advisers always made it a point to laugh in her face, humiliating the poor woman mercilessly.  Sometimes they made her stand in the corner of the customer lounge, refusing her a chair, but forcing her to wear a large dunce cap while loudly chanting over and over, “I wish Chairman Piech a long life without end.” 

    One day, after surreptitiously listening to the Voice of Japan on her contraband short wave receiver, she finally came to her senses and bought a Toyota.  Not only does her Toyota require no maintenance at all, but the service department actually pays her to bring it in because the mechanics are bored, with nothing to do all day but chew gum and read old issues of Road and Track strewn around the customer lounge.  At the dealership she is treated as if she just won the main prize on Queen for a Day.

    Not sure how VW can sell so many cars in the rest of the world…

  • avatar
    saponetta

    mpreseley,
    Thank you.  All the VW/audi  reliability bashing on this site comes from the handholders driving their japanese appliance.  I doubt most have even owned a VW past or present.  If oyu want a fun, practical car on the cheap you cannot do better than VW.  I certainly don’t mind having to visit a repair facility every once in a great while as long as my car is actually fun to drive.
     
    As far as VW selling all the cars they built…thats never a problem.  If there is one thing they do right, they keep short supplies on our shores of all models compared to most manufactuers. The cars sell and they sell over MSRP a good part of the time.  The gentleman I used to work for also had a subaru/vw store.  Sometimes he’d have meetings  with managers from both stores and I always was amazed at their market adjustment they put on all the cars.  The VW dealership had a $2498 addendum on all of their cars, so MSRP +2498.  I worked the desk over there for a week two years ago because two of his sales managers had won a trip through a manufactuer.  They got that $2498 markup almost all the time.  I’m not talking about on special or freshly released models.  I’m tlaking 2007 jetta s and se’s.  VW stirct control over supply made this possible.  Plus it motivated the salesman to sell a new VW istead of trying to put them on a used one.  There is not a lot of markup on a VW, some models have less than $1000.  2500 bucks allowed the salesman to actually make some gross on the cars and make a little money.   If you put a $2498 addendum on the millions of japanese rolling ambien sitting on lots across town, you’d be laughed out of town.

  • avatar
    Gforce

    A VW that’s fun to drive, really really really, except the R32, there’s nothing that sets any other VW apart from those boring Toyota’s. I mean, a FWD appliance, the mind boggles.

    Same applies to those equally boring FWD Audis that claim to be BMW rivals (what?). The only advantage the VW group have is price (well, they’re explicably cheap) given the economy recently.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    I’ve owned a Volkswagen 411 (in which the automatic transmission grenaded even though the car was only a few years old – the car ended up being scrapped even while I kept paying the loan off), and then later had the major misfortune of trying again with an Audi 5000 (used, again) which nickled and dimed me near to death.  I broomed it off on some other unsuspecting dumbass for HIM to throw money at for awhile. 

    As for why VW sell cars in the rest of the world, there are some very simple reasons.

    Europeans don’t drive as far as Americans, Canadians or Australians per year, partly due to cultural reasons (including huge taxation of fuel and cars), partly due to infrastructure reasons (i.e. good public transport), partly due to the nature of the nations of Europe (cramped cities being the norm for a high proportion of citizens), and therefore the cars are not subject to 18,000 to 24,000 miles a year but more like 8000 to 12,000 miles a year, typically.  

    The fact that the Japanese have essentially been tariffed and exluded from European markets means fewer people have had an opportunity to buy reliable cars.  Then too, European cars are designed for European conditions whereas Japanese and South Korean cars are only now starting to be designed and built for those specific conditions.  (Look at how the British motoring press used to continually trash Datsun/Nissan, for example). 

    Plus there is – let’s be honest – an undercurrent of nationalism and even racism in much of Europe.  Many people won’t admit it, but they don’t want an oriental car, no matter how much better it is than a European car.  This is also the case in North America, though it was much more so in the prior generation of buyers than the current generation. 

    So I repeat; look at Volkswagen, Audi and even Mercedes Benz’s PATHETIC record in Consumer Report over at least the last decade, and tell me again why they can’t learn to build better cars?  In the case of Mercedes, they simply got worse and worse.  And it wasn’t just the ones manufactured in the USA, either. 

    Many folks here at TTAC trash the US manufacturers for refusing to learn from the Japanese and even South Koreans.  Why give the Germans a free pass, when they obviously cannot and will not learn? 

  • avatar
    vento97

    Mr. Carpenter:
    So I repeat; look at Volkswagen, Audi and even Mercedes Benz’s PATHETIC record in Consumer Report over at least the last decade, and tell me again why they can’t learn to build better cars?
    You mean reports like this?
    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/cr-recommended/best-worst-in-car-reliability-1005/reliability-findings/reliability-findings.htm


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